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BLUEPRINT

Sebastian Hardie

Symphonic Prog


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Sebastian Hardie Blueprint album cover
3.66 | 60 ratings | 5 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Wish (7:42)
2. Vuja de (8:20)
3. Art of Life (6:20)
4. I Remember (7:36)
5. Another String... (7:07)
6. Shame (3:23)

total time: 40:39

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Alex Plavsic / drums, percussion
- Peter Plavsic / bass guitar
- Mario Millo / lead guitar, vocals, mandolin
- Toivo Plit / keyboards

- Dave Wilkins / guest vocals

Thanks to ledzep4 for the addition
and to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the last updates
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SEBASTIAN HARDIE Blueprint ratings distribution


3.66
(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
9%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
57%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SEBASTIAN HARDIE Blueprint reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Blueprint' - Sebastian Hardie (7/10)

Sebastian Hardie was among the few classic prog rock bands to come out of Australia. Although I had never heard of them before this comeback, I am led to believe they put out a pair of records back in he heyday of 'prog', both of which having now received the status of an underground gem. The past year has seen many of the classic prog bands- both legendary and obscure- come out with something new, and considering that the last album by this group dropped in 1976, there has been quite some down time for Sebastian Hardie. 'Blueprint' is a matured and tender reflection upon life, and though the band's sound comes across as a little tame, 'Blueprint' is an enjoyable slice of melodic prog that's bound to earn the band some fans in the new millennium.

Sebastian Hardie's music draws from the same set of sound as classic-era Genesis, though their approach is noticeably more melodic. Although Sebastian Hardie's style is a little too based in the lush orchestration of symphonic prog to call them 'AOR', 'Blueprint' does not underrate the importance of melody . The more accessible tracks, 'I Wish' and 'Art of Life' are filled with memorable vocal lines from singer Mario Millo, whose voice feels strong, if not very distinctive. The lyrics here are nostalgic and filled with reflections upon life. Like much of the music on 'Blueprint', the lyrics tend to wash harmlessly over the listener, for better and worse. Sebastian Hardie give a fairly optimistic view of life, at times brushing against the threshold of cheesiness. Although the vocal melodies feel fairly tame and predictable from a 'prog' standpoint, there is passion and sincerity here, and unlike plenty of like-sounding artists who disguise themselves behind a wall of esoteric lyrical nonsense, Sebastian Hardie keep their message straight and to the point.

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, Sebastian Hardie's melodies are at their best when they are purely instrumental. Although the songwriting is often built around the singing, the instrumental passages on 'Blueprint' are what really elevate it above mere decency. The instrumentals are rooted in the canon of symphonic prog, complete with lush keyboards and guitar flourishes that remain difficult to dissociate from Yes' Steve Howe. Tracks 'Vuja De' and 'Shame' are excellently composed pieces of music. Although the instrumentation may at times flirt with complexity, the melody is still at the forefront of what Sebastian Hardie are aiming for with their music, but it comes off as much more interesting than the more restrained vocal moments. 'Blueprint' is essentially a split between the excellent symphonic prog instrumentals and decent, laid-back art rock. The two directions Sebastian Hardie take with the album are similar stylistically, but weigh differently in terms of perceived quality and enjoyment. Had Sebastian Hardie put out a full album that rivaled the orchestration of 'Vuja De' or the album's closer, I would have been blown away. As it stands, 'Blueprint' is a very good, but not quite excellent record from the Australian group. Symphonic, or even Neo Prog lovers will find much to love in this, but the album fails to impress me throughout.

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Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It's been over 35 years since Australia's own SEBASTIAN HARDIE released a studio album. And as you might expect they've created a modern sounding album that is more in the Prog- Related style instead of the Symphonic genre like in their early days. And yes they have retired the mellotron unfortunately. A mixed bag here really in my opinion, but I was impressed with a couple of tracks.

"I Wish" is very uplifting until it settles before 3 1/2 minutes and the vocals come in. The magic suddenly leaves. "Vuja De" kicks into gear before 1 1/2 minutes to an uptempo instrumental. This is really good. "Art Of Life" is a relaxed and reflective vocal track. Not a fan.

"I Remember" doesn't have vocals until before 3 minutes as a hazy mood sets in. I like the lyrics too. Nice guitar before 6 minutes. Good song. "Another Spring" is probably my favourite. I really like the instrumental section 2 1/2 minutes. Some excellent organ and guitar work here. Vocals return 6 minutes in. "Shame" ends it and it's an okay tune.

A good album but nothing more in my world. Great to have them back though.

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Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Australia is hardly a hot-bed of progressive music talent, so it was a welcome surprise to discover so many years ago that the country I call home produced an exceptionally good symphonic band in the form of Sebastian Hardie (that's a band name, not a dude!). During the mid-Seventies, the group produced two first-rate albums in the grand symphonic prog style (three albums if you count the `third' album `Symphinity' that saw an altered line-up of the band change their name to Windchase). All were highlighted by lengthy instrumental runs from Toivo Pilt's gorgeous sweeping keyboards and Mario Millo's soaring epic guitar solos. Their debut album `Four Moments' was not only a landmark album for Australian progressive music, but for symphonic prog of the era in general, and it was as good as anything coming out from around the rest of the world at that time.

Like many prog bands from back then, changing musical tastes saw the band split up (Mario Millo would still go on to release a quality solo album `Epic III' in 1979 after the group folded), but it was the opportunity to support symphonic legends Yes in Australia in March 2003 that saw the band reform for the occasion, and the members were inspired enough to eventually record some new compositions. So almost thirty years since their initial works, the band returned in 2011 with the perfectly titled `Blueprint' that more or less picks up where their Seventies works left off, with an added touch of melodic classic rock, and the passage of time has not dulled their musical skills in the least!

While opener `I Wish' holds a thoughtful lyric about missed opportunities and regret that taps into the rich heritage of classic Australian rock, much of the piece revolves around mellow foot-tapping instrumental moments by way of a variety of vintage Mellotron, Hammond and Moog sounds and laid-back guitar soloing. The amusingly titled instrumental `Vuja de' jumps back and forth in tempo, all prancing Hammond and up- tempo driving beats with scratchy rollicking Hammond organ one second, jazzy vibes and dreamy electric guitar fire the next. `Art of Life' is a pleasant, laid-back ballad-rocker sung with warmth, and the sedate `I Remember' includes several minutes of ringing honey- dipped guitar themes and vintage keyboard flights in the classic Sebastian Hardie manner around a smooth tune.

With its mix of tricky instrumental twists and quirky boisterous vocal interjections, `Another String' wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Spock's Beard album, and Alex Plavsic's snappy drumming and Peter Plavsic's punchy heavy bass really shine on this one, as too does Millo's lengthy slow-burn bluesy guitar wailing. After leading with some cosy acoustic flavours, brisk album closer `Shame' is revealed to be a lovely little instrumental along the lines of the most romantic passages of bands like Camel and Rousseau, with a finale in the manner of the most victorious Flower Kings moments.

Yes, `Blueprint' does reflect the age of the musicians, and it's hardly cutting edge by any stretch of the imagination, but everything is performed with such relaxed taste, played with a lightness of touch and given a fuzzy warm restrained production. Skilled instrumental runs blend seamlessly with strong melodies and pleasant vocals to bring a fine mix of lightly symphonic prog and the sort of classic rock that Australian artists do so well, and the forty minute vinyl length running time means it's not overlong or jammed with filler material. It invokes memories of those precious earlier Sebastian Hardie albums, yet also stands on its own modern merits just fine. There's not too many acts their age that release new albums and emerge with their dignity intact, but Sebastian Hardie can hold their heads high with a worthy release that doesn't destroy their legacy.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four stars for this classy effort.

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Latest members reviews

4 stars From memory, I first heard Sebastian Hardie at Melbourne University in the mid or late 70's with a cover of Tubular Bells. A very impressive four piece perhaps on the softer side of Yes and Genesis. Their first two releases "Four Moments" and "Windchase" we were received by local prog fans. It ... (read more)

Report this review (#795004) | Posted by KeepItDark | Thursday, July 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If you're looking for the cutting edge of contemporary prog rock, you won't find it here - but then, if you were looking for the cutting edge, you would never have been a Sebastian Hardie fan in the first place. Apart from the considerably more ragged vocals, there is nothing here that doesn't ... (read more)

Report this review (#747057) | Posted by sl75 | Monday, April 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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